• Talking To Your Teen Even When They Are Snarky | Deborah Ann Davis | Episode 182

  • talking to your teenBelieve it or not, our kids do love us and do still want to talk to us–even when the most common response to our questions is a put-upon sigh and an eye-roll. Even when just trying to start a conversation feels impossible. Mother and parenting life coach Deborah Ann Davis knows how that feels, and today joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to discuss why our teens behave this way, what they’re actually looking for from us, and how we can break through the snarky behavior and converse seriously with our kids (even when we just want to throw up our hands and ignore it all).



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Your child sighing noisily and looking upwards generates happy hormones. So when your kid is rolling their eyes and blowing out their breath in a noisy exhalation they’re self-soothing.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Talking to Your Teen:

    Quote about talking to your teenTantrums are designed to push all of our ‘parent’ buttons, and here’s some important things to remember:

                    1. A tantrum means something is happening to your child, not you
                    2. Your kid is at their wits’ end and needs help to be rescued 
                    3. Be thankful for the tantrum, because it tells you something is wrong
                    4. Yelling, sighing, eye-rolling, door-slamming, stomping off—these are signs that your kid can’t cope with whatever they’re trying to handle

    Tantrums are not restricted to any specific age group.

    Many behaviors that look bratty are actually self-soothing, including sighing and rolling eyes upward.

    “Mom, you don’t understand” is often code for “I can’t handle what’s going on and I need help.”

    When trying to start talking to your teen to understand and help them resolve the problem, you can’t just jump in; your teen is used to certain reactions from you, and abruptly changing those behaviors with no warning or explanation will only confuse them and make them defensive.

    When you’re trying to thoughtfully respond, not simply emotionally react:

      1. Be transparent – you have to tell your teen you’re trying something new; tell them you learned some new skills and you’re going to try using them to help with communicating 
      2. Recognize what’s going on; you love them and want to help, and if they’re in the middle of a tantrum and aren’t in the mood to really listen, then just tell them I love you, and can’t know how to help you yet, but when you feel better please come talk to me and we can figure this out together

    Talk to your teen about their tantrums during calm times. Be honest, but not accusing. “I understand that you were upset, but I was distracted by your behavior. The next time you’re that upset, I’ll step away and let you calm down, then we can look at your problem together.”

    Emphasize it’s you and your teen against the problem. Use the ‘us vs. them’ mentality in a productive manner.

    “I have a 12 or 16 or an 18 or a 22 year old who’s having tantrums. Now I look at it and go, it’s not about these behaviors. I have a child of whatever age that needs help. Then I can get curious and go into the detective mode and go, what do they actually need help with? Do they need to learn emotional skills? Do they need to learn problem solving skills? Do they just need someone to listen to them? Do they need to know that I really am here for them? Is it really more that relationship level that we just haven’t firmly established? It can change day to day, minute to minute. So it could be all of those things.”

    Reassurances will need to happen; one conversation is likely not going to be enough. Be willing to keep talking to your teen, tell them, I love you, I’m here for you, and if I can’t understand, then I’ll find somebody who can.

    You’ll have to adjust talking to your teen depending on their personality. Experiment. Ask them (when they’re calm), How do you feel when I say, I want to help? How do you feel when I say, I understand? Is there something else that would make you feel secure?  

    If you need a break from the emotional conversation when talking to your teen, change the topic to something lighter. A funny Internet meme or something interesting you saw in the news. This will give both of you a break, and also allow you to see how your teen processes and reacts to other kinds of information and conversations.

    People have different learning styles—tactile, visual, auditory. This style also translates into how people do relationships. If you’re not sure what style you are, or what style your teen is, find a free personality test on the Internet and take it.

    Once you know what style(s) your kid is, you can adjust behaviors to fit. For example, if your teen is a visual learner, then leave sticky notes out with reminders for chores where they’re easily visible. Meeting them on their ground will help build trust and strengthen your relationship.

    “You can go look it up. There’s information out there that says, this is how I make them hear me. This is how I get my message to them. This is how I received my message for them. And going back to your quiet learners—quiet people who express things quietly, they don’t know how to bridge the gap to a boisterous parent. They don’t know how to recognize what is right, and what is wrong in those situations. And so helping them with these quizzes will help them understand and help you understand them better and give you a conversation you can have, on this is how you should come and talk to me when you are stressed.

    We all want to be seen and heard and understood. Your child wants to be close to you, even if they’re pushing you away. Hold onto that, even when relationships seem rocky.


    Deborah Ann Davis, Parenting Coach – Putting Happiness Back Into Parenting 

    Parenting Power Struggles – Tired of Fighting with Your Teen? | Neil D. Brown | Episode 25 

    Teen Behavior: Punishment vs Discipline vs Problem Solving | Cindy Kaplan | Episode 31 

    Fighting With Your Teenager | Laurie Warren | Episode 117 

    When Your Teenager Is Pushing Your Buttons | Hunter Clarke-Fields | Episode 121 

    What’s The Enneagram And How Can It Help Me Parent My Teenager? | Ashlie Woods | Episode 158 

    Our Guest Deborah Ann Davis:

    Deborah Ann Davis discusses talking to your teenDo you find motherhood overwhelming? Deborah knows exactly how that feels. When she found out she was going to be a mom, Deborah was completely unprepared. She spent the next decade or so worrying about messing up her daughter’s life, and channeling all the skills she had developed helping her students’ parents. It wasn’t until her daughter finally reached middle school that Deborah felt an iota of confidence as a mom.

    You don’t have to go through that. Your kids are waiting for you to figure it out. As a Parenting Life Coach, Deborah’s job is to help you recognize what you’re doing right, and to add supplemental strategies. Her books “How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door” and “How To Get Your Happy On” are available everywhere. Join her Facebook group, The Mom Meet-Up: Raising Confident Girls. You don’t have to do it alone. 

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://DeborahAnnDavis.com 

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